By Grant Stoner | The Duquesne Duke
When reading a comic book, certain themes are bound to appear. A single man saves a city of millions from a homicidal clown, a main character must deal with the loss of a loved one or a hero/heroine discovers that, despite their unique and frightening powers, they are viewed as guardians rather than monsters. However, one theme has consistently plagued the pages of DC Comics for years-the horrifying concept of a reboot.
Two weeks ago, the co-publishers of DC Comics, Dan Didio and Jim Lee posted a mysterious tweet on their respective Twitter accounts. With nothing but a blue curtain displaying the word “Rebirth,” people began suspecting the worst.
If the rumors are to be believed, then DC Comics is about to erase the current continuity of their books. In other words, we may be experiencing another reboot.
With some series approaching their 50th issue, it’s completely understandable for readers to feel slighted. Major events have occurred under the “New 52” label of DC Comics: Kyle Rayner became a White Lantern, Jim Gordon is currently fighting crime as Batman, Superman became romantically invested with Wonder Woman and Cyborg is a founding member of the “Justice League.”
We, as devoted fans of DC, take to forums and social media sites to voice our disdain. Yet we still buy the comics. Our hard-earned dollars fund these reboots. If they weren’t financially successful, then we wouldn’t continue to see universes erased.
But were we foolish not to suspect this outcome?
According to reports from Polygon, it may not be a coincidence that readers will once again witness Barry Allen being struck by a lightning bolt, or see Superman’s spaceship crash-land onto the Kent family farm.
“It has not gone unnoticed that all the still-going titles that launched with the New 52 in 2011 are coming up on their 52nd issue, to debut in May. The assumption that DC is going with another line-wide relaunch/reboot like the New 52 is popular…” wrote Editor Susana Polo.
Only five years separate the newest reboot, which previously erased over 20 years of character development. It’s now become a question of when DC will reboot rather than if.
DC’s trend of restarting has even caught the interest of their biggest rival.
Following an event called the “Secret Wars,” Marvel relaunched and renumbered all of its books under the label of “All-New, All-Different.” With this new brand comes drastic changes, effectively erasing the widely beloved Marvel universe.
Certain teams, namely the “Fantastic Four,” no longer exist. Peter Parker has been replaced by Miles Morales as New York City’s popular “Web Slinger,” and Bruce Banner won’t have to continuously take anger management classes, because a young Asian-American named Amadeus Cho now smashes foes as The Hulk.
It is unclear at this time if these changes are permanent, or if they are merely used to draw in new readers. After all, an “All-New, All-Different” Marvel universe could attract a wider audience, especially with the success of the various movie franchises.
Reboots can be a controversial subject amongst comic book readers. While they allow newcomers to develop connections with characters that may have been previously inaccessible, people who are familiar with certain events have no choice but to read them again. Even though it could be exciting to experience a writer’s perspective on stories, it’s difficult to not ask yourself a very important question: How many more times are we going to see Bruce Wayne become Batman?